AMD ships first quad-core Phenom chips

AMD ships first quad-core Phenom chips

Spider platform can support up to four ATI Radeon graphics cards

AMD has introduced its first Phenom quad-core processors, along with an
accompanying chipset and ATI Radeon graphics cards that together make up a
desktop PC platform codenamed 'Spider'.

The new processor is available immediately in two versions; the Phenom 9600
at 2.3GHz and the Phenom 9500 at 2.2GHz. Both are similar technology to the
firm's Barcelona processor for servers, but boast a faster memory bus supporting 1066GHz DDR2 RAM.

Spider is primarily aimed at gamers and PC enthusiasts, but AMD said it will introduce a mainstream platform pairing Phenom chips with an integrated graphics chipset in February 2008. However, the Spider platform's ability to support up to four ATI Radeon graphics cards could also see it used in graphics workstations.

Dave Everitt, AMD's marketing manager for Europe, said this first Phenom platform brings together graphics and CPU in an energy efficient and scalable package.

"Following AMD coming together with ATI, we now have the first platform where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," he said.

Phenom chips are true quad-core designs with all four processors on a single piece of silicon. Each has a dedicated 512kB L2 cache, with a larger 2MB L3 caches shared between the four cores. Phenom chips also feature a dual-channel memory bus supporting 1066MHz DDR2 memory and a faster version of the HyperTransport interconnect.

The Spider platform combines the Phenom with an AMD 790 chipset that provides PCI Express connections for up to four ATI Radeon 3800 series graphics cards. Some of these cards support dual display outputs, enabling systems to support up to eight monitors, according to AMD.

Rival Intel has been shipping quad-core desktop chips for some time and launched its latest, the 3GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9650, earlier this month.